I depart from form – today’s post is not from The Wall Street Journal.
The nature of information, in this electronic age, is such that even if you still have it, someone may have stolen it. Also, even if you’ve deleted it, a copy of it probably exists elsewhere.
Now, assume you had a text message on your phone. Assume further it related to a government investigation, or a matter within the jurisdiction of an agency of the US government. Notwithstanding having received several Legal Hold notices, you deleted the message. But the government has a copy of it from other sources.
Would you expect to be the first employee of your company arrested and charged with a crime?
Welcome to the world of Kurt Mix, then a BP engineer involved in the response to the Gulf Oil Spill. [I am a former BP employee but do not believe I ever met Mr. Mix.] He’s on trial in New Orleans as I write for violating the main US obstruction of justice statute, 18 USC 1512. The Houston Chronicle is reporting on the case, as Mr. Mix lives in Katy, Texas, just west of Houston. http://bit.ly/193kcqn, http://bit.ly/1eSN317
Here’s a link to the FBI Affidavit, by way of The American Thinker: http://1.usa.gov/1biS2Hv
I guess the government is showing moderation by charging Mr. Mix with only two counts (each of which is worth up to 20 years and $250,000), rather than 331 (the number of text messages deleted).
Still, a helpful data point when discussing risks and legal holds.